Social Landscape Review: The Airline Industry 2012

A social landscape review analyses the current status across all social media channels – beyond simply looking at popular social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube – beyond counting followers and likes – to determine how brands and customers are engaging with each, their motivations, nature of conversations and their specific context.

The deep analysis reveals valuable insights into online behaviours, while identifying gaps that provide opportunities for new ways of engaging, new ways of providing services, and new business processes that address what customers want and how they want to engage with a brand.

Our most recent social landscape review focused on the airline industry with the objective to analyse how airlines were using social media to engage with passengers. We analysed a sample of 24 airlines across a spectrum of short-haul, long-haul, low cost and full service airlines from around the world with a focus on the Asia Pacific region, the world’s biggest economic growth market, to give an assessment of the industry’s use of the most relevant social networks from a traveller’s perspective.

The more consistently an airline engaged with the consumer to reach resolution or simply responded to comment, the higher they scored. The research uncovered the most successful airline brands, the weakest and the reasons behind those placements.

The most important finding was that all airlines seem to be failing in meeting basic consumer expectation within social. When consumers interact with social technologies there are expectations on service and experience that can be viewed as an extension of offering. We call this shortfall “The Consumer Gap” and believe there is massive opportunity for airlines to shift social to more than a communications channel and into a viable extension of the business, to become socially optimised business.

One of the key findings was that airlines are exploring the use of social media in terms handling service enquiries across the primary platforms of Facebook and Twitter. The travellers expectations on service and experience are not being used as an extension of offering, particularly when the consumer is mobile. Most airlines are still focused on the marketing viewpoint that social has to offer instead of the bigger picture.

For airlines to shift the experience, they need to align internal teams to provide a consolidated social offering to consumers. From the analysis and our own experience to date, this would provide consumers with:

• A more holistic experience with the consumer’s airline of choice;

• An easier combined data access point for airline staff when assisting consumers with their queries; and

• More simplified management systems across a business.

The whitepaper overview is available for download from our SlideShare account.

The full report, Social Landscape Review – Airline Industry 2012, with 480 pages of detailed analysis of social media assets of the 24 airlines listed in the whitepaper, is available for purchase at A$495.

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